(July 31, 2018 / JNS) The Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, which represents the Roman Catholic Church in Israel, issued a statement on Monday blasting Israel’s new Nationality Law and called upon followers to protest it.
The Church seemed to take particular issue with the lack of mention of Arab Israelis—only referring to “Palestinian citizens of Israel”—saying they “are flagrantly excluded from the law.”
“The Christian citizens of Israel have the same concerns as any other non-Jewish communities with respect to this law,” the organization said in a statement. “They call upon all citizens of the State of Israel who still believe in the basic concept of equality among citizens of the same nation, to voice their objection to this law and the dangers emanating thereof to the future of this country.”
The Nationality Law makes Arabic a “special status” language, but not the official language of Israel, which is Hebrew. It also recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, codifies the Jewish calendar as the state’s official calendar, and recognizes Independence Day and Jewish holidays as official national holidays, but does not impinge on the rights of minorities to use their own languages, calendars, or celebrate their own holidays.
The Roman Catholic Church is based in Vatican City, the smallest country in Europe, in which Roman Catholicism is the country’s official religion, and the pope its sovereign ruler.